How does the Energy Management System (EMS) combine hardware and software to collect and analyse data?

Davis Sanford: The EMS enables customers to make informed decisions for efficient vessel and fleet operations. EMS takes real-time data from the ship’s control and propulsion systems, energy storage and sensors, and displays it graphically to assist the crew. All data is encrypted before being transmitted to a Rolls-Royce-hosted web portal onshore, where fleet operators can carry out detailed analyses. EMS is scalable, and securely accommodates and transfers sensor data at high frequency to a cloud environment. Further analysis is conducted at our Intelligent Analytics Centre, where data experts identify areas of operational improvement for the subject vessel or fleet.

What value do the intelligence-awareness systems add to naval ships?

Intelligent awareness aims to increase awareness of a vessel’s immediate environment and prioritise potential dangers in all weather conditions. This is achieved through the introduction of new sensors, with output data delivering insights to the vessel’s bridge. This improves a warship’s safety as the system augments the bridge team’s seafaring experience and capabilities with more situational information, which enables better decision-making.

This system does not seek to replace on-board crew; rather, it supports them in high-intensity evolutions, including navigation in restricted waters during poor weather conditions.

What does Rolls-Royce’s collaboration with Google mean for the future of intelligence awareness?

In early 2017, Rolls-Royce signed a deal with Google to develop its intelligent-awareness systems, which make vessels safer and are essential for realising autonomous ships. The Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine will train the company’s AI-based object-classification system to detect, identify and track the objects that a vessel encounters at sea.

How is Rolls-Royce providing intelligent asset management (IAM) to customers?

For naval applications, technologies from the IAM sector, such as EMS and equipment health monitoring (EHM), reduce sustainment costs and improve platform availability, so fewer ships can provide the same coverage that was previously provided by larger fleets.

Simpler and more robust ship systems are required with equipment that has longer overhaul periods. An example of this is an all-electric power and propulsion (P&P) system architecture that minimises mechanical components and leverages technologies, such as fourth-generation aerospace-derived marine gas turbines with ultra-low maintenance requirements, and ultra-high reliability and overhaul periods.

On manned vessels, this supports unmanned machinery space concepts and reduces the burden on the ship’s engineering staff. On unmanned vessels, this enables enhanced range and endurance leading for operational benefits, including increased coverage and persistence. Rolls-Royce is offering IAM products and services to existing in-service vessels, emerging-unmanned vessel programmes and manned vessels, which are in-build.

The IAM experience space has now opened; how are your customers using it to help make their buying and development decisions?

Rolls-Royce has opened the first in a series of ship intelligence (SI) experience spaces to show its customers, suppliers and partners how the latest digital solutions can transform the marine industry. The first IAM experience space opened in November 2017 in Ålesund, Norway, and demonstrates how SI systems can harness the power of data to optimise fleet operations, reduce operating costs and improve maintenance procedures. The IAM space provides an area for Rolls-Royce customers to validate the advantages of using IAM systems, such as its EMS and EHM portals in real-time operational environments.

What further innovations can we expect from Rolls-Royce in regard to naval products?

In the short to medium term, Rolls-Royce is seeing more naval forces invest in autonomous platforms that will grow in length and displacement, becoming quite complex and capable. Navies will start to integrate these platforms into manned ships, so they eventually operate mixed fleets of manned and unmanned platforms. Rolls-Royce will develop autonomous machinery controllers that have the ability to operate high-tech P&P systems. IAM will be incorporated to deliver long-term reliability and availability for the P&P system.